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The Census asks questions about language use at home to locate groups of people who speak a language other than English. Their isolation or integration into a primarily English speaking community can be determined by their ability to speak English proficiently.

Language Spoken at Home, 1990-2000
1990 2000
Number Percent Number Percent
Only English 130,315 94.03% 128,092 91.59%
Spanish 4,848 3.50% 8,335 5.96%
Other Indo-European* 2,808 2.03% 2,350 1.68%
Asian Language** 507 0.37% 947 0.68%
Other 114 0.08% 135 0.10%
Total Population Age 5+ 138,592 100.00% 139,859 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 3,973 47.67%
Other Indo-European* 627 26.68%
Asian Language** 302 31.89%
Other Language 37 27.41%
Total 4,939 3.53%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,905 39.29%
Other Indo-European* 830 29.56%
Asian Language** 198 39.05%
Other Language 19 16.67%
Total 2,952 2.13%

* "Other Indo-European" excludes English and Spanish. "Indo-European" is not synonymous with "European." French, German, Hindi, and Persian are all classified as Indo-European. Hungarian, on the other hand, is lumped into "Other Language."

** "Asian Language" includes languages indigenous to Asia and Pacific islands areas that are not also Indo-European languages. Chinese, Japanese, Telugu, and Hawaiian are all classified here.

Also note that ability to speak English "very well" is based on the self-assessment of those responding to Census questions, not on a test of language ability.

Source: Census 2000 analyzed by the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN).

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